When Rafael Nadal hit 11 double faults and still won the match

Rafael Nadal is yet to lose a match at Majors in 2022. The Spaniard claimed the Australian Open and Roland Garros titles before withdrawing ahead of the Wimbledon semi-final due to an abdominal injury. One of Nadal’s toughest wins in 2022 came in the Australian Open quarter-final, which also made him set a negative record.

Rafa advanced into the seventh Australian Open semi-final following a thrilling 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3 triumph over Denis Shapovalov in four hours and eight minutes on Rod Laver Arena. The Spaniard struggled with stomach issues since the third set and barely survived a challenging encounter under a boiling Melbourne sun, losing weight and hitting 11 double faults for the first time in a career!

Rafa won 13 points more than Denis, playing better behind the first serve and defending six out of eight break chances. The Spaniard grabbed three breaks in sets he won and served well to bring the victory home and remain on the title course.

Rafael Nadal hit 11 double faults against Denis Shapovalov in Melbourne.

Shapovalov fired 20 aces and over 50 winners and unforced errors, trying to stay aggressive and rush to the net. The Canadian had a slight advantage in the shortest and most extended exchanges.

The more experienced player erased that deficit in the mid-range rallies, where he forged his victory. Rafa dropped only five points behind the initial shot in the first set and broke Denis at love in game four to develop the lead.

World no. 5 held at 15 in game nine to seal the set and gain a boost. Shapovalov raised his level on the return a bit in set number two, but it was still not enough to create break chances. Nadal stole his serve in the seventh game before wasting a set point at 5-3.

The Spaniard wrapped up the set on his serve in game ten for a massive advantage. The Canadian stayed in touch in the third set and delivered a late break at 5-4 to grab it and increase his chances. The youngster broke the opponent to open a 3-1 gap in the fourth set and saved break points at 5-3 to force a decider.

The opening three games of the final set proved crucial, as Nadal saved break chances in games one and three to end his downfall. He broke Shapovalov in game two to move 3-0 ahead and brought the victory home with reliable serving in the remaining games.

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